Get into the habit of updating your social media skill sets.
Many of us have read the book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," but as I was recently re-reading this book it occurred to me that most of these habits also apply to successful social media marketing.
Below is how "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" can be translated into habits that lead to successful social media marketers.
Habit 1: Be Proactive - Take Initiative
As a social media marketer it is important to be proactive and take initiative. Take initiative to learn the latest social media tools. Take initiative to bring your organization forward. Take initiative to test and learn. Take initiative to educate your organization. Take initiative to respond to customers.
Initiative is key to success as a social media marketer. In a fast-changing world, those who embrace learning and can generate buy-in to their ideas are well-positioned to succeed.
Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind - Have a Plan!
Always begin your social media marketing with a clear vision of what success looks like. This means having a clear social media plan. Don't just start posting on social media. Start by understanding what you want to achieve and build a plan to achieve it. My book, "Social Media Field Guide," uses an eight-step approach to building a social media plan (see the graphic below).
Habit 3: Put First Things First - Prioritize
As a social media marketer (or a social participant) it is easy to log on to Facebook, LinkedIn, or Pinterest and suddenly wonder where the last few hours went. Prioritize how you spend your time on social media. In our social media training programs one of the tools we have is a social media checklist that helps marketers prioritize their goals once they log in to a site. Know what is most important to achieving your objectives and invest your time wisely.
Habit 4: Think Win-Win - Balance Marketing Objectives With Value to Your Audience
Oftentimes we approach social media at one of the two extremes. We either focus on what we as a business want, or focus on what our users want. The key to success is balancing the business objectives with what is actually valuable to your audience. The more value you create for your audience, the more value they will create for you. Consider both as you build and implement your plan.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood - Listen and Know Your Audience
Oftentimes we jump in to social media and start by posting. Many of the companies that I work with don't spend time up front getting to know their audience and understanding their interests.
As the saying goes, you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Spend time understanding what your audience really wants and how you can add value before you start posting.
Habit 6: Synergize - Engage the Right Resources in Your Organization
OK, so synergy is an overused buzzword, but there is value to working together to achieve more. Communicating on social media sites often involves many different parts of an organization. Typically marketing, PR, customer service, legal, and even product development play a role in developing and executing a social media plan.
Build the right internal structure and synergies to get results. Organizations that are not internally connected aren't poised to succeed.
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw - Invest Time and Resources to Stay Current
Social media changes quickly, and the tools of the trade are always changing and evolving. It is important for social media marketers to continuously invest in their skills to stay relevant and effective.
Be sure that your work plan involves time and a budget to dedicate to training and education. A desire to learn new things and stay on top of trends is key to success as a social media marketer.
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Krista Neher is the author of the bestselling Social Media Field Guide, an international speaker, and currently CEO of Boot Camp Digital, which is a leading provider of social media marketing training and consulting solutions. Krista is a social media pioneer, creating one of the first successful corporate Twitter strategies and corporate blogs - long before "social media" was even a recognized term. After spending nearly six years at Procter and Gamble working on some of the biggest and most successful product launches, Krista went on to become the vice president of marketing at an Internet start-up.
Krista started Boot Camp Digital in 2008 and has created training programs for hundreds of advertising agencies, marketing departments and small and medium business owners in social media marketing. Krista also works with a variety of educational institutions on their social media programs and is currently working on a textbook on social media marketing.
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